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15. Equivalent Measures and Procedures

  • Issued: November 2007
  • Content last reviewed: May 2011

Disclaimer: This resource has been prepared to help the workplace parties understand some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and regulations. It is not legal advice. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations. For further information please see full disclaimer.

The Regulation is able to cover a wide variety of asbestos work because it prescribes a limited number of measures or procedures for doing the work. This means that there may be other ways of carrying out the work that are equally protective of workers. Section 23 of the Regulation therefore permits the substitution of other equivalent measures or procedures, provided that they provide protection for the health and safety of workers that is at least equal to the protection that would be provided by complying with the Regulation.

Before using a varied/alternate measure or procedure, an employer or constructor must give advance written notice of the change to the joint health and safety committee(s) or to the health and safety representative(s) for the workplace. There is no requirement to notify the Ministry of Labour when using an equivalent measure and/or procedure.

In order to vary a measure or procedure required by the Regulation under section 23, what must be equivalent?

Section 23 allows a constructor or employer to vary a measure or procedure required by the Regulation, provided the measure or procedure, as varied, affords protection for the health and safety of the workers that is at least equal to the protection that would be provided by the Regulation.

Does this mean that based on a risk assessment, the employer may re-classify an operation? For example, carrying out a Type 3 operation as a Type 2 operation?

No. This section does not allow re-classification of the work. The work has already been classified under section 12 of the Regulation based on risk of asbestos exposure involved in the operation.

May the employer use section 23 to vary the respirator required by the Regulation?

The requirement under paragraph 11 of section 15, that "an employer shall provide every worker who will enter the work area with a NIOSH approved respirator in accordance with Table 2 and the worker shall wear and use the respirator" is a "measure" prescribed by the Regulation. Therefore, pursuant to section 23, an employer may vary a respirator required by the Regulation if the varied respirator affords protection for the health and safety of workers that is at least equal to the protection that would be provided by using the respirator prescribed by the Regulation, and the employer gives written notice of the varied respirator, in advance, to the JHSC or health and safety representative for the workplace.

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Disclaimer: This web resource has been prepared to assist the workplace parties in understanding some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the regulations. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations and reference should always be made to the official version of the legislation.

It is the responsibility of the workplace parties to ensure compliance with the legislation. This web resource does not constitute legal advice. If you require assistance with respect to the interpretation of the legislation and its potential application in specific circumstances, please contact your legal counsel.

While this web resource will also be available to Ministry of Labour inspectors, they will apply and enforce the OHSA and its regulations based on the facts as they may find them in the workplace. This web resource does not affect their enforcement discretion in any way.